Wednesday, May 23, 2018

7. Tipsy and the Hardhack Solution

Hardhack Rat had never met Tipsy but he knew all about her. "What are you doing here Tipsy?" Tipsy's laugh was like water trickling over smooth rocks. "I have an ickle job for you," she said; "It's from the Wabbit." Tipsy pulled wads of low denomination bank notes for her frock and threw them in Hardhack's direction. She dusted her paws. "Maybe you could tell me if you have a 3D printer?" Hardhack was delighted. "Of course I have." Tipsy smiled sweetly. "Then perhaps you could print me a little dwink?" "No problem," nodded Hardhack. He pressed a button and turned to sort through the banknotes. He studied them for a while, then studied them some more. Only then did he look up. "What is the nature of the financial inquiry?" he asked. Tipsy pouted. "The Wabbit wants to know where the notes have been." "They look as if they've been washed," sighed Hardhack. Tipsy giggled. "The Wabbit says dirty money has its very own indelible trace." Hardhack thought the Wabbit said a lot of things, but he took the notes nonetheless. "I'll have to scan them and subject them to rigorous probing." "Probe on," suggested Tipsy.  Hardhack smiled and lifted a coffee pot. "Your drink is ready." Tipsy looked at the coffee with horror. "It's spiked with amaro," grinned Hardhack.
[Background photo credit:Argonne National Laboratory under the specified license]

Monday, May 21, 2018

6. Wabsworth & the Outside Auditor

Wabsworth was an android copy of the Wabbit and knew all the tricks of the spook trade. The stranger looked like a banker, so he trailed him along the porticos, keeping a suitable distance. But in the quiet of the early hours, he had no option but to make himself visible. The stranger was well aware he had company but paid no particular attention. He was interested solely in empty properties and closed down shops. Wabsworth watched as he peered through shutters and rattled letterboxes. Occasionally he heard him dictate notes into a recorder in a strange language. "He's talking shorthand," thought Wabsworth. He grinned to himself. "Maybe he's an endangered species." His circuits whined as he ran images through a finance database. There were bankers, accountants, stockbrokers, insurers, even arbitrageurs. But no match emerged for the man in the suit. The stranger made a sudden stop and looked back. Wabsworth dodged behind a pillar out of professional courtesy. The stranger slipped a hand in his jacket and took out a crumpled note, which he dropped indifferently on the sidewalk. Then he walked briskly on. Wabsworth let him go. He bent down, scooped up the scrap of paper and tucked it in his fur. "A pizzino," murmured Wabsworth. He knew a pizzino wasn't a small pizza, it was a coded message. "Now I know who you are," murmured Wabsworth.
[Used by the Sicilian mafia, a pizzino is a small slip of paper carrying high level communications. First mentioned in the Adventures here in our early days.]

Friday, May 18, 2018

5. The Wabbit and the Horse's Mouth

For the Wabbit and Lapinette, it was child's play to break in. "This it is," said the Wabbit. He pointed to the bottom of a flight of steps, where two statues stood guard. "Dark horses," murmured the Wabbit. "Better keep an eye on them," whispered Lapinette. The Wabbit heard a horse whinny and noticed the shake of a head. He glanced in the indicated direction. A washing machine in the corner revolved and splashed gently. The Wabbit ears twitched. He held up a paw and listened. It was playing looped sound composed of metallic chinks. Then the machine span rapidly and stopped with a shudder. Lapinette heard tinkly piano jazz. The Wabbit crept round the back, reached across and pressed a button. With a bang, the door shot open and money sprayed out. Lapinette lifted a sodden note. "These are so, so low denomination." The Wabbit shrugged. "Things went sour for the Bank of Despond?" Lapinette pondered for a second. "Maybe the money you moved broke the bank." The Wabbit frowned. ".. and they want revenge." The washing machine door crashed shut and the drum clattered. "I hear ominous ticking," said Lapinette. They backed abruptly away but bounced from a dark horse, who squealed long and hard, then snickered. Lapinette looked it straight in the flank. "Should we stay? See what comes out in the wash?" The dark horse shook his head vigorously.  "Nay," translated the Wabbit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

4. The Wabbit at the Bank of Despond

"I don't recall ever seeing this building before." The Wabbit dismounted and kicked the door soundly. "It's real enough." He clutched his foot and grimaced. "I've been down this street a hundred times," said Lapinette, "and this building isn't here." Mo and To sniggered in a punk fashion. "Where is this Bank of Despond anyway?" said To. "The address said Edinburgh," said the Wabbit, "so I did a quick satellite search." "I'm betting there was zilch," said Lapinette. "A shut down newspaper building." shrugged the Wabbit. Mo laughed and laughed. "Ha ha, this is it; it's a pop up bank." The Punk Snails sneered in unison. The Wabbit squinted up. "I can climb up there." He placed a foot on a window ledge and gradually scaled the building. "Ah," he exclaimed. He grabbed a piece of broken masonry and hurled it at a window. Tiny fragments of glass showered Mo and To. They wiggled their antennae. "Cool!" said To. "Amazing," said Mo. The Wabbit opened the window and glanced inside. Then he sighed and shook his head. "No Gangbankers?" shouted Lapinette. "No Gangbankers here. But plenty of money." "Toss it down," shouted To. "I can't," said the Wabbit, "it's wet." Lapinette's ears swayed. "What's that sound?" "Sounds like a washing machine," replied the Wabbit. Mo and To slithered in a sideways shuffle. "The Money Laundromat." yelled To. "It stinks" shouted Mo.

Monday, May 14, 2018

3. The Wabbit and the Flying Bankers

The Wabbit and Lapinette prowled the city in search of the Gangbankers but found no leads. "Can you hear howling?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette caught a glimpse of shadow, then the sky filled with a single engine plane. The Punk Snails looked up. Their antennae wiggled. "It's them!" shouted Mo. "Take cover," yelled To," but it was too late. Lapinette's automatic spat bullets. They tore through a wing and the plane banked suddenly. "She's gonna stall!" shouted Mo. The Wabbit saw a stick of explosive heading straight for him, so he grabbed it and hurled it back. It caught the undercarriage and detonated. Fragments fell on the Snails. "Cool," said Mo. The plane spiralled and sank out sight. An explosion followed. "Super cool," said To. "They landed," laughed Mo. To nudged Mo. "A-may-zing," he drawled. The Wabbit and Lapinette held tight as the Snails slid to and fro in a slithery dance. "Gangbankers," growled the Wabbit. "Where do they get their money?" said Lapinette. "They're bankers," shrugged To. "They rob their own banks," explained Mo. Lapinette frowned. "Wabbit, is this anything to do with your Dinosaur Fund?" The Wabbit thought hard. Having observed strange activity, he'd wrenched significant monies away from a small merchant bank. The bank duly collapsed. His face was grim. "The Bank of Despond."

Friday, May 11, 2018

2. The Wabbit and the Gangbankers

Morning was on its way and shops were flickering into half life. Mo and To, the Punk Snails, were hanging on the corner and the Wabbit was pleased to see them. "See anything unusual?" Mo and To sneered in synchrony. "Nothing surprises us." Lapinette jumped onto To's shell and pulled out an edged weapon. "Oooooh" said Mo. "We just got shot up by some hoods," explained the Wabbit. To waved an antenna. "You mean the gangbanking gang?" "To, that's rude" yelled Lapinette. "Not any more," sneered Mo. "Bankers ain't shit on their own," sneered To. "They 'ave to be in a gang." said Mo. "We 'ate them," drawled Mo. "They're 'orrible," agreed To. The Punk Snails waggled their antennae in a circle. The Wabbit pulled out his automatic and waved it. "I don't like the sound of these gangbankers." He hopped onto Mo. "Are we going somewhere?" giggled To. "These bankers dissed us in our own city," hissed Lapinette. "Criminals!" yelled Mo and To. The Wabbit smiled and politely asked, "Where does that gang hang?" "Corners, shadows, penumbra," sneered Mo. "They lurk," said To. The Wabbit raised an eye. "They are without purpose," sneered Mo. "No moral centre," sniffed To. The Wabbit shrugged. "Then they might be hard to find." He gently nudged Mo with a foot. Mo slid forward followed by To. "These gangbankers sure made us mad," murmured Lapinette.

Friday, May 04, 2018

1. The Wabbit and the Rogue Bullet

It was late. People were going home. The sound of traffic died away. All that could be heard was the creaky, squeaky sound of one ramshackle bicycle. The Wabbit let his grin go lopsided and drawled. "The city was asleep. The rats and the cats and the bats were all in their holes." From some late night club, some late night musician guy played jazz. The Wabbit strained to hear the notes, but they flew by without lingering. "There are a million stories in the naked city," he drawled. "We'll never read them all," smiled Lapinette. Her giggle was clear and airy and it swayed off down the street. The Wabbit watched it go. He stuck a paw in his fur and whistled softly. "What about a bite to eat?" "Everything's closed," said Lapinette. "I know a place that's still open," said the Wabbit. Lapinette raised a quizzical eye. "My place," said the Wabbit. "That doesn't count," laughed Lapinette. A loud bang bounced along the walls and rattled shop windows. "Just a car backfire," said the Wabbit. They looked at each other and shrugged. There were five more. Lapinette frowned. "Backfires don't come in batches of six." "They weren't meant for us," offered the Wabbit. A bullet zapped between his ears. "These cats is making a big mistake," snorted the Wabbit. "They zigged before they zagged," scowled Lapinette. "You go that way, I'll go this way," said the Wabbit. "Cut 'em off at the pass," nodded Lapinette. "Dead end street," hissed the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

Skratch descended on the Adventure Caffè with some vigour. He was about to deliver a lecture on what he called 'kiddie movies' - but he could see the Wabbit had upstaged him. "If that's a blade server," he said, "I could have got you one at half the price." The Wabbit looked at the empty table and chortled. "It's the only server here." "And they don't take bitcoins," grumbled Lapinette. "That's a shame, now we're in the money," said Wabsworth. He rapped the table for attention. "So. What was that for a sort of adventure we just had?" Skratch waved a paw. "It was a kiddie techno-thriller." There was a long pause. Skratch continued. "We distinguish it from standard thrillers, through quantity of specific technical detail." "Do we indeed?" smiled Lapinette. "Genres are fluid," shrugged the Wabbit, as that put paid to the matter. "But this one had a kiddie movie feel," meaowed Skratch. "What exactly do you understand by a kiddie movie?" asked Lapinette. Skratch purred. "A kiddie adventure is serious business. Protagonists must be extra brave and bold, and also staggeringly intelligent." Lapinette grinned and bowed. Wabsworth chuckled. The Wabbit nodded gravely. He quietly winked at Wabsworth, adopted a puzzled frown and poked the blade server. "How the devil does this thing work?"
[Blade server: A series of linked blades in a chassis.]